Celtic's Brendan Rodgers has backed Hibernian manager Neil Lennon

By David Walton

January 29, 2019

Neil Lennon’s suspension has taken everyone by surprise, but Brendan Rodgers has backed the Celtic legend.

The BBC have quoted Rodgers as stating that Lennon just “wants to be the best”, and that he would “walk into another job.”

At the moment, details are sketchy on why Lennon was suspended on Friday. Reports from outlets such as the Daily Record and Daily Express believe it stemmed from an altercation with Florian Kamberi in a team meeting. But confirmation from the club hasn’t been released.

Neil Lennon and Gary Parker have been suspended by Hibs (Alan Rennie/Action Plus via Getty Images)

And today, Rodgers gave his two cents worth. As quoted by the BBC, the Northern Irishman looked to defend his countryman vigorously.

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“The thing with Neil is he’s not interested in being second best. He’ll only ever want to be the best.

“I know how good a manager he is and what he puts into his life as a football manager, what a very good tactician he is.

“As a guy, I’ve a lot of respect for him. I did as a player, I have done as a manager. He’s a good man who loves the game. He’s a real thoughtful guy, a very intelligent guy. I’m sure if it did come to an end at Hibs then he will walk into another job.”

First-hand experience of Lennon’s tactical nous

Of course, Rodgers has experience of being on the end of a Lennon masterclass. For a start, the Celtic manager has never won at Easter Road on any of the three occasions he’s visited. He’s lost twice, and drawn the other after being 2-0 ahead. All of which came under Lennon’s watch at Hibs.

Even at Celtic Park, Celtic have often struggled to put Hibs away. They’ve scored four goals in three visits to Parkhead under Lennon. He consistently knows how to find the net against Celtic, and it’s clear Rodgers is impressed.

Lennon has given Celtic more trouble than anyone during Brendan Rodgers’ stint (Vagelis Georgariou/Action Plus via Getty Images)

The whole affair with Lennon and Hibs is a distasteful one. Nobody can truly confirm what’s happened there until the facts are released. That’s if they ever will be by Lennon or the club. It’s also important to remember that he remains the Hibs manager for now.

But these comments by Rodgers also open up the idea that Celtic may not be interested in taking Lennon on for anything. Rodgers seems to be suggesting Lennon will continue his career elsewhere if he parts ways with Hibs.

Supporters on Twitter have had a mixed reaction to the idea of a Lennon return in any capacity. But Rodgers hasn’t exactly left the door open for it either.